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Major air route to Australia axed

French airline Air Austral has axed Sydney flights

BY JAMES WILKINSON

Reunion-based French airline Air Austral has, for the second time this year, axed its flights to Sydney in a setback for Australian inbound tourism.

From late October, Air Austral will suspend its Reunion-Sydney-Noumea Boeing 777 service along with flights to five French cities due to “high operating costs”, according to the airline.

Back in February, Air Austral announced the suspension of the South Pacific service only to reinstate the flights a few days later. This time, it appears the suspension could be final, with the carrier in talks to have passengers rebooked on another Indian Ocean-based airline.

“The airline [has] confirmed that it is in discussions with an airline operating already in the Australian market, effective from the northern winter schedule, enabling it to continue serving travellers from Australia to Reunion and beyond,” Air Austral said in a statement.

“With continued high operating costs, in particular aviation fuel, coupled with low yields on a number of international routes, Air Austral believes the proposed restructure represents a sensible and responsible operational strategy in the current challenging climate.”

It is understood Air Mauritius will carry Air Austral’s passengers destined for Australia, but details are yet to be confirmed.

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